Devil In The Device by Lora Beth Johnson

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Razorbill and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

Zhade’s power might be going to his head. He’s still getting used to wearing Maret’s face, but he can’t deny that the influence it affords him has its perks. But when the magic of Eerensed starts to turn deadly, Zhade must master the Crown if he’s going to save his people, and Tsurina’s destructive plans for Eerensed aren’t going to make that easy. Worse, he’s starting to see her point. Meanwhile, Andra is in hiding. Assumed dead by the people of Eerensed, she must stay underground if she’s going to live long enough to build the rocket that will finally save the colonists from this dying planet. But when Andra hears voices urging her to destroy everything, she starts to dig deeper into her subconcious. What she finds leads her to question whether she’s destined to be a savior after all. Battling the dangerous forces buried within their minds, can Andra and Zhade truly decide their own fates? They must find a way to work together before two power-hungry leaders and a deadly swarm of rogue technology destroy humanity for good.

It’s no secret that I am a huge, huge fan of Goddess In The Machine. It even became one of my favorite books. So, of course I was looking forward to the sequel. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I wanted to know what new twists there would be. I wanted to know how this story was going to end. Trigger warnings: grief, alcohol

My feelings toward this one are complicated, but are overall very positive! It was different than I was expecting, and I had a few issues with it, but I can still firmly say that Goddess is one of my favorite books and this duology is a fantastic one all around.

First off, I am just in awe of Johnson’s mind, because wow. The way this story is crafted, how much is packed in here, how much is needed to create this world, these characters, and to make this plot work is just awe inspiring. I am truly amazed at what she was able to accomplish. Just as complicated and twisty as the first book, it packs a bunch with twist after twist and emotional gut punch after emotional gut punch.

The characters were a serious highlight for me. I absolutely adore Andra, her drive and how she struggles with herself, who she is and what her purpose is, what she is going to make of her fate. And of course I love Zhade, he’s obnoxious, but sweet, and funny, and sometimes you want to punch him, but other times you want to hug him. The side characters were AMAZING. Seriously, I cannot speak highly enough about them. My love for them grew and blossomed, and they each had their own stories and motivations. They were an integral part of the story, and I honestly think it made the whole book stronger.

Another highlight was the way technology was presented and just the way this world is crafted. The line between our world and this one is so clear, the way language has evolved, and the way that technology is viewed. I know I spoke about this in my review in the first book, but it’s honestly still a highlight in this one. I think it comes down to that these reactions, and the way that this world is built, is incredibly realistic. I can see humanity evolving this way. I can see how this world could emerge from our own, and it’s just, so cool.

And the twists. Johnson is just a master at plot twists, and this book is no different. There are twists just all over the place, in the middle of the book, at the end, freaking everywhere. Everything about this book is just so smart, and watching it come together is amazing. The plot, just, wow, it is so intricate, so well woven and put together, that it’s just completely spectacular.

Of course I loved the fact that his book had it’s own language. I also talked about this in my review of Goddess, but I need to talk about it here again because it’s just so freaking awesome. Though, at the beginning, it was a bit rocky getting into it. I kind of felt like I was having a seizure when I was reading Zhade’s chapters haha. This time, there is no learning curve to the language. Andra is not there to discover it with the reader, to help add an adjustment period, and I think that was why I had a bit of a hard time getting acclimated. It was new for me, but not for anybody else in the book. Nevertheless, I did get acclimated and it became one of my favorite parts of the book, because it is just so dang cool that this book has it’s own language and I get to read it.

One of the things that I did not completely love were some of the emotional development pieces. It’s a bit hard to describe, because they are so ingrained in the story and in the characters. But, I felt like some emotional pieces were sort of thrown out there, and they didn’t completely stick. There are places where I think certain aspects could’ve been given more room to breathe, and they would’ve blossomed a lot more. It made some of them feel a bit rushed, and I didn’t completely connect to them.

This ties into another thing that I didn’t completely love. This is a big book. Big, as in there is a whole lot that fits into it. There is so much that needs to happen, and this plot is so intricate, and there are so many moving pieces. It’s weird, because I don’t think this would’ve worked better as a trilogy, but I also think there were a good couple things that needed room to breathe. It made some of the book feel smushed, and made me want more from certain things, plot points or characters.

Despite the things I did not love, I did end up loving this book overall. It’s characters blasted their way into my heart, and I am in awe at how this book is crafted. Seriously, it’s incredibly smart and there is so much about it to fall in love with. ALSO THE FREAKING EPILOUGE OH MY GOSH. It is a fantastic duology.

Devil In The Device comes out August 24, 2021! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

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